A chance of history awaits the victor between the Saigon Heat and BTN CLS Knights Indonesia.
Last season, the Knights failed to make the playoffs with only five wins to show for. This year, the Knights have risen to the league’s elite with their fourth-place finish in the regular season. They have 15 wins, 11 losses, and became one of the best teams defending home court. Not even a slow start could not keep them from becoming a contender.
Bannered by explosive World Imports and determined locals, they’ve become a force to be reckoned with. And they’ll even lean on a former Heat in Maxie Esho to carry them to victory in the playoffs. Esho is the motor that has kept the Knights running with his steady averages of 23.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists.
This team hopes to bring home the ABL title to Indonesia for the first time since 2012.
The Heat march into the postseason for a fourth straight year with a 14-12 record. This incarnation of the Vietnamese squad holds more hope and more promise than their predecessors as they won’t enter the playoffs as the lowest seed for the very first time. A combination of flurry, ferocity, and ferociousness embody this team that aims to make it all the way. Kyle Barone, the team’s leading scorer with 21.3 points per game, will also be at the forefront in trying to contain Esho. That will be a critical matchup and can dictate the outcome of the series.
Failures of season’s past will not hold the Heat down as they try to enter the finals, a feat that will be a first for this proud franchise.
The Knights and the Heat split their season series with two wins apiece. Their last meeting was a thrilling one-point win by the Knights courtesy of a late-game basket from Douglas Herring. We can expect more of that back-and-forth action as the two teams lock horns in a best-of-three series.
Can the Knights advance and eventually take the ABL crown back to Indonesia or will this be the year that the Heat finally make a breakthrough and go all the way?